Review of "Hell on Wheels Complete Fourth Season" From The TV MegaSite
 

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Hell on Wheels: The Complete Fourth Season

 Review by Suzanne Lanoue 8/13/15

This is good, but it's also very uneven. That might have something to do with why they keep changing the showrunners and writers.

I'd never watched it before, so I watched the very first episode. I enjoyed it, but I felt that even though they took great pains to make the show look like the old west, the characters were too modern, and in predictable ways. For instance, the protagonist, who is very likable, is a Southerner bent on revenge for the rape and murder of his wife, and the murder of his child.  Yet to make him a little more palatable, they take great pains to assure us that while he is a Southerner and a former slave owner, he set his slaves free a year before the war started, at the behest of his wife, a Northerner. Also, he paid them a wage. Well, that seems pretty far-fetched. Then to make it even more obvious, the villain in the first episode uses the N word copiously. Although I love the actor who played him (Ted Levine), and he played it with great relish, the character was written very badly.

I think all of the actors do a great job, and I liked the show enough to want to keep watching. I watched this fourth season after reading up a little on what progressed in the First, Second and Third seasons, so I wouldn't be lost.

When the Fourth season starts, Cullum has been taken prisoner and is living with Mormons (who were very different from the Mormons we know now). I really enjoyed the DVD most of the way through, even though it had a lot of gratuitous violence. I liked the new characters, especially the one played by Jake Weber, who's one of my favorite actors.

However, the season really stalled when they finally showed Elam again. They focused a whole episode on his time with the Indians, and then another episode about his returning to Cheyenne. The show actually drags badly at this point, and I found myself fast-forwarding through several parts.

After that, the show got back to normal. It really lost focus this season (although I did enjoy it). I hope in season five it gets back to the great show I know it can be. The show is best when it focuses on building the railroad.

I watch a lot of other western shows like "Longmire," "Justified," and "Deadwood." This one is not as good as any of those, but it reminds me a bit of "Deadwood." It has great characters and is very compelling most of the time.

Despite these shortcomings, I liked it enough that I plan to not only watch season 5 but to go back and watch the other seasons.

There are a lot of great features on the DVD, which are worth watching. I recommend the DVD because not only is it a good chunk of this interesting western saga, but the extras are enjoyable for any fan.

MORE INFORMATION:

As the fifth and final season of HELL ON WHEELS begins airing on AMC, dive into the powerful and compelling fourth season, arriving on blu-ray and DVD this August.

"Railroads may not seem sexy, but this series brings a 

There Will Be Blood aesthetic to episodic TV."

-- Wall Street Journal

 

HELL AIN'T CIVILIZED...

 

ALL ABOARD FOR EPIC WESTERN DRAMA AS AMC'S TRANSCONTINENTAL JOURNEY CONTINUES WITH

THE LATEST GRITTY DVD INSTALLMENT

FROM ENTERTAINMENT ONE

 

HELL ON WHEELS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON

 

Street Date: August 11, 2015

Blu-Ray/DVD SRP: $49.98/$39.98

 

Anson Mount and Colm Meaney Co-Star in AMC's Top-Rated Series;

the 4-Disc BD or DVD Collector's Sets Features All 13 Episodes and

Numerous Extras Including Set Tours, Featurettes and More

 

Hell on Wheels Season 4 Trailer

 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

 

When it premiered in 2011, HELL ON WHEELS was credited for helping to modernize the Western genre.  "Imbued with epic sweep[1]", the series tells the story of post-Civil War America and of Cullen Bohannon (Anson Mount), a soldier who sets out to exact revenge on the Union soldiers who have killed his wife.  When his journey takes him west to Hell on Wheels, a lawless melting pot of a town that travels with and services the construction of the railroad, the lavishly-produced series gathers steam, and introduced characters and plotlines that have helped the Western drama become one of AMC's top-rated series -- and underscores just how  uncivilized the business of civilization can be.

 

Season Three of HELL ON WHEELS ended with Cullen married to a pregnant Naomi and living in a Mormon fort where the Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) was impersonating church leader, Bishop Dutson; Thomas "Doc" Durant (Colm Meaney) back in control of the Union Pacific Railroad which had successfully expanded westward to Cheyenne; and Elam (Common), gravely injured by a bear while searching for the missing Cullen.  And, as HELL ON WHEELS: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON unfolds on blu-ray and DVD exclusively from Entertainment One (eOne), civilization makes its way west with the railroad, bringing with it men who attempt to do with their pens what rougher men did in seasons past with their guns.  Conflict between government and big business, ranchers, homesteaders and the railroad will continue to define the drama as all of those interests compete with one another for control of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the "Magic City of the Plains", and the most important railroad hub in the country. 
 

CAST 

  • Anson Mount (Non-Stop, Straw Dogs, "Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden")
  • Colm Meaney (The Conspirator, Get Him to the Greek)
  • Common (Just Wright, Date Night)
  • Dominique McElligott (Moon, The Philanthropist) 

BONUS FEATURES: 

  • A Look at Season 4
  • The New Characters of Season 4
  • Cheyenne Set Tour
  • Anson Mount Retrospective
  • On the Set with Colm Meaney
  • On the Set with Jake Weber
  • Episode Featurettes 

PROGRAM INFORMATION

 

Type:  Blu-Ray (4 Discs)/DVD (4 Discs)

Running Time: 556 mins.

Rating:  TV-14

Genre:  TV/Western

Aspect Ratio:  6x9 (1.78:1)

Audio:  (Blu-Ray)DTS-HD Master Audio/(DVD) 5.1 Surround Sound

Language: English w/SDH subtitles

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Page updated 8/13/15

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